The HustlerDirector: Robert Rossen
As The Hustler's "Fast" Eddie Felson, Paul Newman created a classic antihero, charismatic but fundamentally flawed, and nobody's role model. A pool player from Oakland, CA, as good as anyone who ever picked up a cue, Eddie has an Achilles' heel: arrogance. It's not enough for him to win: he must force his opponent to acknowledge his superiority. The movie follows Eddie from his match against billiards champ Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason) as he falls in love with Sarah (Piper Laurie), an alcoholic would-be writer and sometime prostitute, and falls under the spell of Bert Gordon (George C. Scott), a successful gambler who offers to take Eddie under his wing and teach him how to play in the big time. However, when Sarah joins Eddie and Bert on a trip to Louisville for a high-stakes match with a dandy named Findlay (Murray Hamilton), the consequences prove tragic. Along with a classic performance by Newman, The Hustler also features turns by Scott, Laurie, and Gleason, in a rare dramatic role. Cameos from pool champ Willie Mosconi and boxer Jake LaMotta add to the atmosphere of Harry Horner's grubby production design and Eugen Schüfftan's camerawork. Director Robert Rossen, who had been working in films since 1937, was to direct only one more film, Lilith (1964), before his death in 1966. In 1986, Newman returned to the role of "Fast" Eddie in Martin Scorsese's The Color of Money, for which he finally earned an Academy Award as Best Actor.
- Release Date:
- Original Release:
- 20th Century Fox
- [Wide Screen]
- [DTS 5.1-Channel Surround Sound, Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
- Sales rank:
Cast & Crew
|Paul Newman||"Fast" Eddie Felson|
|Jackie Gleason||Minnesota Fats|
|Piper Laurie||Sarah Packard|
|George C. Scott||Bert Gordon|
|Myron McCormick||Charlie Bums|
|Michael Constantine||Big John|
|Gordon B. Clarke||Cashier-Bennington's|
|Carl York||Young Hustler|
|Clifford A. Pellow||Turk|
|William Adams||Old Doctor|
|Don de Leo||Another Player|
|Don Koll||Ticket Clerk|
|Charles McDaniel||Reservation Clerk|
|Sid Raymond||First Man|
|Art Smith||Old Man Attendant|
|Albert Brenner||Art Director|
|Gene Callahan||Set Decoration/Design|
|Kenyon Hopkins||Score Composer|
|Harry Horner||Production Designer|
|Ruth Morley||Costumes/Costume Designer|
|Richard Vorisek||Sound/Sound Designer|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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What Rossen does with a decent screenplay in fantastic. Maybe it had something to do with the performances of Newman, Scott, Gleason and most of all Piper Laurie, The cinematography brings out the best and the worst of what used to be life on the wild side, playing pool. The theme of arrogance runs throughout the film. Both Newman and Scott are just plain outstanding in their portrayal of two individuals that know exactly where their going and do not care who they have step on to get there. Made in the 60's this film is a classic and has been for some time. A must see and own for any collector.
Thanks for all the great movies you gave us and for all your fine charity work!
The hallmark of Robert Rossen's "The Hustler" is its performances. After repeated viewings, you can still find new facets in Paul Newman's portrait of a loser, Piper Laurie's pathetic alcoholic, Jackie Gleason's Minnesota Fats, George C. Scott's definition of the soul of evil. Repeated viewings of the movie serve to underline the slickness of the story's resolution which seems more and more to indicate that there's nothing like the loss of a loved one to improve your pool game. Good guys are winners. Bad guys are losers. It used to be as simple as that. But in the Sixties, a new breed called "anti-heroes" had taken over in movies. Who's an anti-hero? Sometimes he's really a good guy who can't help losing. Sometimes he's a rebel who tries to take on the Establishment--and goes down trying. Sometimes he's more a villain than a hero--but a villain who isn't all bad. Though originally written for "Playhouse 90" back in the late Fifties, "The Hustler" (1961) functioned as a morality play for the early Sixties. Pool shark Eddie Felson (Newman) is the first full-blown non-hero, and a character quite different from the anti-heroes of the previous decade. In the Fifties, such characters were best symbolized by Montgomery Clift in "From Here to Eternity", Marlon Brando in "The Wild One", and James Dean in "Rebel Without a Cause"--troubled, sincere men who suffer much anguish at the hands of an unfair system, but fight to remain true to their own moralities in spite of the world's general amorality. In the Sixties, Newman eclipsed these three superstars: his Fast Eddie is amoral, anguished, and alienated from the world. He is not true to a code of his own--and therefore superior to the mainstream--but only unable to reach out to others. In their films, Brando, Dean and Clift all longed for a sincere woman with whom they could share a separate piece in "The Hustler", Newman is unable to accept such commitment and communication with his girl Sarah (Piper Laurie). The anti-hero of the Fifties experiences victory in defeat, cleaning up a lousy system while sacrificing himself in the process the Sixties non-hero undergoes defeat in victory, winning what he wanted and finding it without value. Newman's demeanor--his intense nervous energy and cool, casual cynicism--found its perfect embodiment in this role, making him a pop-culture idol for a new generation, the star of a new kind of cinema. Director Robert Rossen's sparse, effective screenplay (written in collaboration with Sidney Carroll) and his stark, shadowy scenes set the proper pace for this downbeat tale. But it was Newman's electrifying performance that made "The Hustler" such a smashing experience for viewers. [filmfactsman]
This is not only a masterpiece of cinematography, but a performance piece featuring some of the finest acting work of our time. This film is a classic in every sense of the word and did I mention that the billard scenes are pretty good too?
The Hustle was a good movie from start to finish. The movie score and period piece depicting "the urban side of a hustlers' life in" New York City in the early sixties actually made me long for those good old days.The movie cast was sincere and had marvelous chemistry. The only down-side was the commentary. Newman had way too little to say about the movie , the actors in it, or even about himself.The commentary turned out to be more a biography about the director, with Rossen's daugther doing all the talking. Critic Richard Schickle interviews were bad and uninteresting. Some of the guests' had very little to add that would give this commentary any meaning. Why wasn't Piper Laurie invited to be a commentator for this fine movie? Movie: B+ Commentary: C-
What a movie. Paul Newman at his peak and great performances by Jackie Gleason, George C. Scott and Piper Laurie. Every aspect is well done including the decision to do the picture in black and white. Myron McCormick is fantastic as Newman's mentor.